Lessons from a Traditional Colombian Food Market: What food flows in the Galería El Porvenir Market reveal about Cali & Colombia


The exploratory analysis of the Galería el Porvenir marketplace as a case study in the food flows of Cali offered insight into what food is being offered, what is in high demand, where the city’s ingredients come from, and where they’re going. Beyond food flows, the interviews explored assessed (1) markets’ capacity to feed people with time and budget limitations, (2) the price and perception of quality of the food being offered, and (3) what elements of these traditional markets should be considered in the development of policies to promote healthier and more sustainable diets. With the support of a Tinker Foundation and CLAS-funded research grant, I spent two and a half months interviewing 116 market vendors and consumers in the Galería El Porvenir in Cali, Colombia. Given that this was the first study of its kind, I left many questions open-ended, as it was difficult to anticipate interviewees' responses. As a result, I gained (pro)interesting qualitative data that was (con) more difficult to analyze due to lack of uniformity in responses. This "consumer study" can be used to develop demand-driven solutions to food insecurity and market inefficiencies. The Alliance of Bioversity-CIAT is in the nascent stages of incorporating traditional marketplace data into maps of the food flows of the city and region, but my results can be applied to help wholesaler markets and city government in making food production and distribution more efficient in order to reduce food waste, bolster farmers' livelihoods, and stabilize price fluctuations.

Alexandra Reep
Publication date: 
October 30, 2022
Publication type: 
Student Research